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The Solomon Islands lie at a crossroads. Separating the rich continental faunas of Australasia and the isolated islands of a sprawling Pacific, no other oceanic archipelago supports a greater proportion of the Earth’s living diversity or a richer array of human ways of life and languages. The American Museum of Natural History shares with various community-based organizations the goal of supporting people throughout Melanesia in managing natural resources sustainably as a key contribution to their wellbeing and conservation of globally important biological diversity.
To build capacity for conservation and more balanced land-use practices in the Solomon Islands, the CBC pursues community-based biodiversity research, education, and conservation activities that span the archipelago. At the heart of this approach is the development of community-based partnerships and Community Conservation Agreements (CCAs), which support communities and other landowners with capacity strengthening initiatives and participation in effective conservation of high priority areas and species.
Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership: Since helping to establish the local NGO Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership (SICCP) in 2007, the CBC has invested strengthening its capacity to build and drive local and regional science-based conservation agendas and efforts. SICCP supports community-level management and establishes linkages among local partners, customary leaders, government, and other organizations. It further acts as a regional liaison between international institutions (NGOs, museums, and universities) and locally managed areas under Community Conservation Agreements, channeling funding and tailored capacity development for effective governance.
KIBCA: Kolombangara Biodiversity Reserve: Through partnerships with local landholders, schools, and government, the CBC catalyzed the establishment of a legally recognized landholders’ association that is now stewarding conservation and research initiatives on the island of Kolombangara. These include the only terrestrial research station in the Solomons, Imbu Rano Lodge, and a legalized protected area that covers nearly half of the island and entire ranges of numerous endemic bird, frog, and invertebrate species.
Tetepare Endowment Fund: A sister site to Kolombangara, the CBC has partnered with the Tetepare Descendants’ Association (TDA), which manages conservation activities on Tetepare Island, the largest intact uninhabited island in the tropical Pacific. TDA strives to ensure that the rainforests remain unlogged and uninhabited, maintaining customary use of all marine and terrestrial subsistence and cultural resources. TDA carries out terrestrial and marine biological monitoring and year-round patrols to promote sustainable resource use. Tetepare’s beaches support nesting populations of three species of turtle, including critically endangered leatherback sea turtles, all of which Tetepare rangers monitor throughout the year.